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Report: Safeway reforming health care in-house

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. Companies impatient to rein in healthcare costs can go ahead on their own without waiting for federal legislation, Safeway president, chairman and CEO Steven Burd said on Tuesday, according to a Reuters report.

He said that making employees at the chain accountable for their weight, smoking, cholesterol and blood pressure, has saved millions. Burd proposed the highly praised program used by his company as a model not only to other companies, but also to the federal government.

“If you are part of a large organization, you really don’t have to wait for government to do anything,” Burd told the World Health Care Congress being held in Washington, D.C. “You can design your own healthcare reform.”

It costs Safeway $1 billion a year for 200,000 employees, Burd said, adding that the program had held those costs level since 2005.

Burd agrees with experts who say such chronic diseases as heart disease and cancer are responsible for most of this spending, and that such behavior as smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet are responsible for up to two-thirds of cases of cancer and heart disease.

Safeway has been running an experiment called Healthy Measures among 30,000 nonunion workers. Burd said 74% of them have signed up for the plan.

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Hallmark sends a sympathy card

BY CSA STAFF

The nation’s leading greeting card company on Tuesday said it planned to cut up to 8% of its U.S. work force by laying off between 550 and 750 of its 9,200 full-time employees in the U.S.

The job cuts at the privately held company are expected to take place over the next six months and will involve 200 to 250 jobs at the company’s headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. Other cuts are expected to occur at six manufacturing and distribution facilities where between 350 and 450 jobs will be cut. Hallmark’s sales last year declined 2$ to $4.3 billion.

 

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BJ’s expands payment options

BY CSA STAFF

NATICK, Mass. BJ’s Wholesale Club announced it is expanding payment options to its members by accepting government-issued food stamp benefits via Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) payments. BJ’s now accepts EBT payments at all 180 Club locations throughout its 15-state footprint.

“The Food Stamp program makes a difference in the lives of millions of Americans across the country, and the benefits they receive positively impact their abilities to feed their families consistently healthy meals,” said Laura Sen, president and CEO, BJ’s Wholesale Club. “BJ’s recognizes the diverse financial status and changing needs of its members. We are proud to help members stretch their food budgets by offering savings on a large selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and baked goods, along with name-brand, non-perishable staples.”

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